Friday, March 29, 2013

The 2013 Spring One of a Kind Show

I started the long weekend off right with a pitcher of Mojitos at Milestones, followed by a trip to the One of a Kind Show! I actually won the tickets from Jennifer at Rambling Renovators, so thank you Jennifer because my friend Sarah and I had a great time! We decided to hit it up after I had downed my mojitos, because Easter weekend is just so crazy that it was the only time we could squeeze it in.
Now, Sarah and I aren't really into the fashions there, and we certainly don't have the budgets for most of the beautiful artisan works, but somehow I always seem to come away with a few great gifts for people from these types of shows. I wish I could show you what I got, but alas- gifts need to remain secrets!

I will tell you that I bought something from Michaud Toys that I adore, so I recommend checking out his booth. His woodwork is beautiful and- lemme tell you- smells amazing. You can order online from his site, but there are lots of finish options in person at his booth and hey- no shipping charges when you buy in person!

Then I got some HILARIOUS cards from Hug and Kiss Designs. Please note that these cards are highly inappropriate and therefore highly humorous to myself. We spent too much time there laughing over the cards (you cannot stop reading them!). Luckily for you, they sell the cards online too- but you get some bulk discounts at the booth :)

Finally, Sarah and I really enjoyed the toys and books at MeFits. They have adorable characters with funny, quirky names like Farty Marty and Broad Maude. I didn't buy any, but I liked them so much that I had to share! They even have free shipping after the show by entering the promo code freeshippingforme on their website. If you can't make the show- please check them out!

Of course, if you are trying to keep your wallet firmly closed, I always recommend going to the food aisles where you can literally feed a family of 10 on the free samples you will get there (of course- they aren't to go, so bring your family with you!). I was very full from dinner so I only got a few things, but there is stuff there for every taste and a whole lot of allergy sensitive options (like gluten free).

So there is my One of a Kind experience at the One of a Kind Show. If you are checking it out this weekend (or have checked it out already), please let me know!

Hoppy Easter Everyone! I hope you have as much fun as this guy:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I Run Like the Wind!

Yay! Time for a running update on my goal of doing 10km in 1 hour!

I have a BIG update-

I RAN 10KM!!

I always seem to do my best runs on Sundays, and last Sunday I laced up with the goal of running to a certain intersection, which would be a 5km run, and walk back. I knew it would be hard, but manageable because I had run 5km with little training before. This time I had a few weeks of training under my belt, so I thought I could make the full distance without stopping, even with the cold temperatures.

Well, lemme tell you, I hit that 5km and I just kept on going! I felt so good! My legs were tired but my mind was in a good spot and running is seriously 90% mental. I felt SO good when I finished, like I was on cloud nine! It didn't hurt that I had timed myself and knew that I had done it in 1 hr, 10 minutes. Just 10 minutes over my goal!

I came back to the condo and iced my calf muscles with my Owwie Cowwie on and off for a bit. My legs were still a little tight on Monday, especially my left calf. I think I lean towards my left leg a bit too much when I run. I took Monday off and I went back out for a run on Tuesday but I only managed 4km, because my legs were still a bit tight and did NOT want to go.

Now that I know I can DO it, I am so pumped to keep training so that I can do it consistently and faster. I know part of that is also working on eating healthier because I am definitely carrying around a few pounds that are trying to slow me down.

Not that I believe I am fat by any means, but that in order to run better it would help me to be leaner. Not to mention eating better would mean I am getting the proper nutrition to power my body. Of course, as I write this post I am making brownies for's a work in progress ;).

Here is my take on eating well to lose weight (because I feel it needs to be said): 
Food is an addictive thing. Sugars and fats are addictive. I think about food all day and I am rarely full. Even if I am full, I still want to eat. I know it is all mental, but it is really hard to stop eating. I don't stock junk foods in the house, but I will overeat on healthy foods. I really am trying, though.

I think of food addictions like smoking. Smoking is really hard to quit. I have heard it takes 9-11 attempts to quit smoking in order to succeed, and even then people are dealing with the mental effects as well, like having something to do with your hands, or to fit in in a social situation, or taking a break from stress. Eating is exactly like that for me, except that I can't quit eating cold turkey! 

Having said this, I know it is not impossible to eat healthier and lose weight. I just need to stay aware of why I am eating and find something else to do (like go running!).

So are you guys looking forward to the long weekend? Easter plans? Anybody else baking up a storm?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Spring has Sprung!

Spring has sprung,
the grass is green,
I wonder where,
the flowers been?

Ok, maybe that poem is supposed to be about birdies, but this post is about flowers! I am sticking to my spring/summer goal of buying flowers weekly. Or at least, whenever my current flowers die (hint- that ends up being weekly). Check out my new beauties!!

Ermahgerd! Flurers!

Now that the sun is finally getting off it's lazy butt and warming up Toronto, I decided to start my flower-buying plan! I picked these Cyclamens up from the cheap fruit stand near work on Monday for only $3! This is why I don't care if I kill em fast. haha. According to my internet research, the flowers will fade and the whole thing will dry out and effectively die off in April and if I take care of it, it will come back in September. Ya. We shall see. I only paid $3 for it, so I am not sure if I want to hang out with a half dead plant all summer. :P

And I know, I should really just buy cacti. But to be honest, I live in fear that I will also kill the cactus and live forever in shame.

Have you ever cared for Cyclamens? Wanna take bets on when it will die?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Taking Aneboda from College to Classy

I decided this weekend to take my armoire decoration up a level. I was starting to no longer be a fan of the taped up wrapping paper that looked nice from the outside, but tacky on the inside. I'm going to be 27 soon- my armoire needed to grow up. For the record, my entire closet system is from the Aneboda line from Ikea. Except they don't seem to sell the skinny tall version, or the short little dresser anymore. Such a shame because they are very practical pieces for very reasonable prices!


I originally tried to paint the plastic part, but it looked HORRIBLE and messy and basically a disaster so I wiped it off. After deliberating some options, I decided to use wrapping paper again, but fit it exactly into the see-through space and change up the look.

First, I carefully marked off a pencil line along my new paper, checked every so often to make sure it was still exactly 8" wide.

Once it was all marked out, I carefully cut it out with scissors and attached to the door with double sided tape. Bam-sha-bam it was a perfect fit! Go me! I then repeated on all three doors and the front of the small dresser beside them. It ended up being a perfect fit across my paper- I only needed to use under 60" of the wrapping paper, so I have plenty left for wrapping gifts :) I looove this hot pink and turquoise pattern.

I then decided that I needed to update the functionality of the doors, now that they were so much prettier. Remember the hooks from my front hall closet that used to hold scarves?

Well they found a new home!

I decided to move my favourite statement necklaces from the bathroom to the "dressing room" in an effort to make my bathroom more clean, so they came out here!

Now I can put them on when I put on my outfits in the morning. I also want to install a mirror back here so I can do all my jewelry in the "dressing room". I think I will also eventually want to add more necklace hooks on this door because it is a little crowded right now.

I am loving my armoires now! I just have to get used to the white outsides vs the turquoise. I thought about backing the new pink paper with the old turquoise, but ultimately decided I preferred the all-white look.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Hot and Cold Pack

My friend Sarah has a bag that can be frozen or heated up to revive sore muscles and for reasons neither of us can remember, we call it her Owwie Cowwie. I decided I would also like an Owwie Cowwie, because it would be nice on cold winter days to snuggle up to a warm bag, and I think my muscles may need some heat/cold after running my 10K in May. However I am trying to save money by not buying non-necessities and I knew that this kind of fell into that category.

I was then on Pinterest and found a tutorial by Bee in My Bonnet and I realized that these things are only rice in a bag!? Hey now- I can make that! I loosely followed her directions, except that I didn't use flannel because I didn't have any. Yup, I break the rules like no one's business.

I decided to make mine from a fun, patterned napkin that I have had for a few months now.

I folded the napkin in half so my pack would be about 9" by 18" and ironed it flat.

I then sewed along three sides, keeping one end open to pour the rice in.

then I clipped the corners to make them lay flatter.

I added my rice (I think I used about 6 cups of white rice) until the bag was half full, and then sewed her shut! I decided to use white rice over brown rice because I am trying to eat healthier. See- these bags are really good for my health!

After that my bag was ready to use!

This project literally took me 10 minutes and it was so easy! I don't know why I didn't make one earlier! Plus, if you are not a fan of sewing, I bet you could use hem tape and iron it together. I loved that it cost me zippo (except for a few rice dinners, I guess).

Did you do any free projects this weekend?

Friday, March 22, 2013

DCP Update!

I always feel like I do these updates a lot, but then I go back into my blog history and the last one is over two months ago?! Man, how time does fly!

Well this week I finally hit my goal I set when I wasn't really responded to treatment- I reached maximum dosage! Go me and my scalp of steel ;). I asked the nurse what happens now that I have reached the highest dosage and she said that we remain here and when I go for my follow-up appointment with my dermatologist I get her opinion on where to go from here. She mentioned doing some sort of combo treatment? I have no idea. My appointment is in a month so I will see what happens when I go I guess.

In good news, it seems I am finally starting to respond to treatment. While I haven't had the itching and blistering that comes with this treatment (ew, thank God), I DO seem to be having improvement in my hair growth. I am by no means growing hair like a normal person, but some of my peach fuzz has grown a bit long and I have noticed a couple spots that are darker like normal hair. I honestly think my scalp needed this high dosage before it planned on doing anything! The doctor has mentioned that the hair in the back is definitely getting longer, but I can't see or really feel it so for all I know she is making it up.

In my honest opinion, my hair is not going to grow back. I have been doing treatment for almost 5 months and I have what I will call "glorified peach fuzz". I can't even photograph it to show you. But I will keep going and then discuss with my doctor!!

And then hopefully the weather will warm up so I can take my bald head out to the lake!! Sorry, it is just so cold out and I keep fantasizing about summer.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Patio Plans!

Last night I went to Costco with my dad because I heard they had Hunter rain boots in stock for 50% retail. Well apparently my Costco didn't get that memo and they did not have them in stock :(

However I did pick up something exciting! Patio Flooring! Yup, the balcony is getting a makeover this spring!

When I moved in it looked like this:

But after a broken chair and few changes last summer it looked more like this:

And now I am ready to make some better updates and really solidify the look back here because she is kind of a hot mess. I plan on keeping the folding table and getting rid of the one remaining folding chair and the white bench. I haven't decided on whether or not I am keeping the yellow chair.

Then I plan to add my new Costco flooring!

I don't think this is the exact product, but it basically looks like this image. It was $29.00 per box (10 sq ft in a box). I liked it because it is the same price as the more common Ikea Platta Flooring, but I can lay it all in one direction, rather than in a parquet style. I like the modern feel of the straight lines.

Then I am going to move the table to the back wall (the shot of the two chairs on my balcony above is the spot) and get some potted plants for it or something. It will be there if I need a table for entertaining, but generally I find I don't need one often. In front of the table I plan on adding two comfy chairs like these Canadian Tire ones:

I am going to keep my ear to the ground for any good sales because I don't really want to spend $130 on a chair. I'm hoping to find a similar style for less!

Then I would like to add some throw pillows and a striped rug! I am also considering hanging baskets from the balcony wall, like these inexpensive ones from Ikea. My only concern is that I always kill plants, but maybe mother nature could keep them watered and happy at the balcony edge?

Now all I need to figure out is what to do with the pointy corner of this strange triangle balcony. I may put the yellow chair there, but I am not attached to it. Any ideas? Here is an old drawing of the balcony layout, but it has the general shape. It is the right side I am confused on.

I can't wait for it to get warmer so I can get started!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Plans for Spring/Summer!

Mother Nature clearly has not gotten the message that today is the first day of Spring. Toronto is cold and snowy and according to the Weather Network we aren't due for a heat wave (however the trends is upward so let's all keep our fingers crossed!). I decided to make a list of all the things I want to get accomplished during these sunny months. My summer weekends are already filling up with out of town weddings (6 weekends so far are booked! Yikes!) so I need to make an effort to complete each thing on this list before cold air comes blowing back in.

1. Buy fresh flowers every week!

There is a small flower store that I pass every day on my way home from work and they often sell small potted flowers or bouquets of tulips for under $5. I can't keep plants alive to save my life, but at these low prices I can afford to let em die! (It is not intentional- I DO try).

2. Buy a bike!
I am sooo excited to get a bike this year! I am very nervous about biking in the city, but I think it will be so much faster to get around and to get some exercise. Living near the water means I have access to tons of nice bike trails and I am even considering biking to work on warm days (not hot ones- yuck) because I can go 90% on trails by the lake and a river. How nice is that? And it takes the same length of time as transit!

3. Go to the islands
Confession: I have never been to the islands. People are shocked when I tell them this, considering I grew up near Toronto but I have NO memory of ever going there. I even live near the ferry so this is completely silly of me and I want to check it out this summer and have a nice picnic over there!

4. Put flooring on my balcony!

I have lots of plans for the balcony this year, but first and foremost I will be taking care of the cold, ugly, concrete floor situation I got going on out here.

5. Rooftop Tanning

This is one of my favourite summer activities and I hope I can do it more this year because it is so relaxing. My friend Sarah will come up and we literally just sit on the rooftop and read magazines. My roof actually has a great rooftop patio with a barbeque and lounge chairs and I want to spend more time up there this summer! I always wear and inch of sunscreen because I am so pale but I swear the sun just does my spirit good!

(also under this section I would like to add going to more patios and the beach. I need to savour the sun this year!)

What are your plans for the spring and summer?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bed Options for a Studio Apartment

One of the first challenges I faced when I bought my condo was "Where on Earth am I going to sleep?". I was so terrified of making the wrong bed decision that I was regretting buying the condo. Who wants to spend 3 years sleeping on a pull out couch with the obligatory metal bar in your back?

The previous owner had slept on a pull out couch, so I had naturally assumed that was the only option available with my floorplan. Thankfully when I went in to measure I realized a bed would fit in the back end of the condo (did the previous owner never figure this out??). I started off with a twin sized bed but eventually decided to give up some floor space for the "luxury" of a double bed. My bed is pillow-topped, memory foamed, and is my favourite place in the condo at the end of a long day!

However, some people are not lucky enough to fit beds in their studio condos/apartments, so I thought I would share some of the options I considered before move-in day!

1. Pull Out Couch
Believe it or not, pull out couches have come a long way from the floral patterned, 3 inch thick mattress of sleepovers long ago. There are many stylish, compact, and comfortable options for pull out couches available!

I found that pull out couches were rather expensive, but if it is your best option than I would invest in a good quality one- sleep is so important to happiness! I looked seriously at the options at La-Z-Boy because they sold mattresses that inflated in 30 seconds- that means a thicker, more comfy mattress!
Source: La-Z-Boy Website

I also looked at the Ikea options because they had some unique designs- some with extra storage! Their models tend to be the cheapest on the market, but I would test them out in store first to make sure the quality of the mattress isn't compromised.

2. Futons
Ah the futon, the bed of college students everywhere! Believe it or not, there are comfortable futon options on the market. I recommend The Futon Store if you live in Toronto. They offer many custom options for fabric and frame and they had an excellent selection when I went to check them out during my bed search. If I were to get a futon, however, I would get one with arms because I hate couches where I can't lean on an arm! Arms can better support a couple throw pillows to make the futon look more couch-like during the day.
Source: The Futon Store

3. Murphy Beds (Wall Beds)
I already covered this topic a couple of weeks ago, but Murphy Beds are a great option if you have the space to pull one down. My only concern with this option is that you would still need a separate "seating area" for your living room activities so I am not a huge fan of them in studios. They can also easily run you $2000 or more!
Source: Mast and Falls
4. Day Beds
Day beds tend to work better with a twin sized bed versus a double, but if you are happy to have a smaller bed (or perhaps don't have the space for anything else) they are a great option. I find they don't make the best couch if you like to sit normally, but they are great if you enjoy curling up while watching TV! You can even style a single bed like a day bed by adding some side tables and propping pillows up against the wall or putting a headboard along the length (you can DIY or buy a king sized headboard, which should fit the length)

If you are buying, try to find ones with storage too- there are lots of cheap, good looking options like the Hemnes Daybed from Ikea (it can even convert to a double bed!):

5. Modular CouchesWhen I was couch shopping last summer I came across this amazing modular couch, sold at a store called Modern Sensibility in Toronto. The chaise footrest can move to the end of the couch and make a single bed, AND the couch had storage! It was pretty cool and it would be a great option if you had the space (I ended up not having the length necessary in my living room).

6. A Loft Bed
If your ceiling height and comfort level permit it, a loft bed can be an excellent idea for a small studio. The couch can be placed underneath to allow for seating. My only problem with loft beds, however, is using a ladder if I am sick or need to use the bathroom in the middle of the night! Plus my ceilings are a bit low and I would feel claustrophobic.

7. A Bed!
I rarely ever just sit on my couch and watch TV, and if you are like that too you may be quite content to eliminate a "couch" area and just set up your bed in the main area of the studio. A couple of storage ottomans or a small table and chairs can be set up for the occasional visitor and you yourself can happily curl up in bed to watch your shows or movies!

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Weekend in the Country and New Sheets!

I spent the weekend at my friend's parents house just over the border in Quebec. The goal was getting the bridemaids dresses sorted out for her wedding this summer. I was so much fun but a lot of driving. We rented a car and drove 5 hours out to their house and got there pretty late at night. We woke up early Saturday morning and picked up the bridesmaids and drove 2 hours to the dress store in Carleton Place, followed by lunch, then 2 hours back to her house by 4pm! I then took a nap (clearly) and we drove out again for over an hour to get dinner back in Carleton Place. Then Sunday Jeni and I drove the 5 hours back out to Toronto. It was probably 17 hours of driving in one weekend and I am beat.

We did have a lot of fun though! Lots of drinks and laughs with old and new friends (all new to me!). I always enjoy being in the country and breathing the fresh air and actually seeing STARS at night. Makes Toronto seem so uninspiring. I don't think the country is for me full time (too dang cold and too much driving!). But it sure is nice to get out of town now and again! I can't wait to get back out there this summer and find me a bonfire and some marshmallows.

In condo news, I finally bought new sheets! Huzzah! If you follow me on Twitter you would know that I have been looking for coral sheets for awhile and I finally found some at Winners and I loooove them. They bring such a fun dash of pinky goodness to the condo. The colour in these photos may read a little more pink than coral but I took them at night and had some trouble correcting the colour.

See how the pillows tie into the new throw pillow? Perfection :). The weird thing was the pillow cases were HUGE- like king pillow size. Which is strange because these were double sized sheets so why would a double bed have king bed sized pillows? That is just craziness. But I tucked the ends in and everyone is happy! haha

Really funny part, though, was that as I was unpacking I realized I own a dress that would camouflage perfectly with these sheets.
 It is nice to know my new sheets will complement my skin tone like this dress did!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Mirror, Mirror on the...Furniture?

When you live in a tiny home it is important to carefully plan your furniture in order to make your space look bigger. Design magazines are always saying to hang mirrors in order to reflect light in small spaces, but what about reflecting light off of your furniture? Mirrored furniture is beautiful, decadent, and has the added bonus of making a small space seem more spacious and bright!

Check out these various mirrored options!
Would you invite mirrored furniture into your home? I find it to be the most glam neutral you could ever find! Unfortunately I don't need any new furniture right now. sigh...
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